"How you pray will determine what kind of life you live," says pastor Joel Osteen in his recent sermon series about God-sized prayers this month. The native Texan and pastor of Lakewood Church heads one of America's largest and fastest-growing churches.
If you only pray small, ordinary, get-by prayers, most likely you will live a small, ordinary, get-by life," he said. But when you have a boldness to ask God for big things, you ask Him to open doors that normally would not open. When you pray God-sized prayers, you will see the greatness of God."
During a sermon posted Jan. 7, Osteen incorporated several examples of prophets in the Bible who asked God for "unthinkable" happenings. He said one reason people don't see God do great things is that we ask for small things, such as praying over food, for protection and for wisdom. "That's all good, but it's limiting what God can do."
Osteen encourages everyone to pray for something that's "far out, something you can't accomplish with your own strength."
"Dare to ask," he said, to look at impossible dreams with God.
He said he believes God is daring us to ask for Him to "show a flood of His favor."
Based on the concept that ordinary prayers get ordinary results, Osteen believes God meets people at the level of our faith. He cites James 4:2: "You have not because you ask not."
To make real differences, he said if you're not asking big, you're short-changing yourself. "Ask God for what he's already promised you, those specific dreams and desires He's placed in your heart. They are part of your divine destiny."
Those bigger dreams take faith, he said. "Radical faith gets radical results."
He reminds that "the enemy" gets stirred up when people ask God for big things. He suggests Christians take the limits off of God and don't stay in the "safe zone."
Osteen references Psalm 31: "God has blessings stored up for those who honor Him."
He recommends praying bold prayers over children, to make them become history makers.
And when people are feeling as though God has bigger things with which to deal, Osteen said "You are God's biggest deal. You are the apple of His eye. You are not inconveniencing God to ask Him to help you in your everyday life. God wants to be good to you."
"One of the most powerful ways for us to pray is to find a promise in the Scripture and remind God what He said about us. Isaiah 62:6 says, 'Put God in remembrance of His promises.' It doesn't say 'Put God in remembrance of our problems.'"